Thursday, June 28, 2007

Comments to a Student on 50th Anniversary of the Anti-Rightist Campaign and Taiwan Issue

I suppose that one could argue that the CCP's failed policies in the 50s, 60s and 70s are "responsible" for the alienation of Taiwan today. I tend to think that the launch of the Anti-Rightist campaign (50 years ago this year, but no one seems to have noticed much) in response to the "Hundred Flowers" was a signal moment in this. US-Soviet rivalry surely played a role in the enforced Taiwan separation from China as did Chiang Kai-Shek personally, but imagine if China had made a liberal choice in 1957 how much better things might have been if there had been no Great Leap Forward famine and no Cultural Revolution political, social and cultural disaster and no reason for Taiwan not to re-unite with the Mainland?

When I return to Shanghai next month I am staying in a new luxury guesthouse on the campus of Fudan that has been built exactly where my student dormitory (Building 4) was located. But when I was back on the campus last month, I was haunted by memories of those bleak days in the '70s when most of my friends were still suffering from the lingering effects of the various forms of torture that intellectuals had suffered until just shortly before I turned up there. People at Brock have no idea about any of this. But I find it hard to slough off the burden of memory of this past.

And ever today, there is still a need for intellectuals in China to "exercise caution."

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